Pictured: Flagstaff's Karen Burdett and Roy Rogers with Peter Collyns, of Qantas (left) and Senator Mitch Fifield (right), and the award. Credit: GREG ELLIS
The Flagstaff Group has taken out a major award at what chief executive Roy Rogers describes as the most significant awards event of its kind in Australia.
The Unanderra-based social enterprise won the Australian Disability Service Enterprise Award for the work it does getting people with disabilities into employment and on a career path.
"The Australian Disability Enterprise Excellence Award is a national award contested by the 600 Australian disability enterprises throughout Australia," Mr Rogers said.
"It recognised Flagstaff as leading the reform agenda for creating employment for people with disabilities in a truly commercially sustainable environment and for developing a career path for people with a disability.
"We are doing this at multiple levels in developing workplace vocational work skills, training in workplace health and safety manual handling techniques, and providing recognised qualifications for people with disabilities through a Certificate II program in food handling, process manufacturing and laundry operations.
"There are all transportable real work related qualifications for people with disabilities who have never had the opportunity to gain a vocational skill to better prepare them for an ongoing career.
"We don't see a person with a disability to being any different to any other employee who wants to learn new skills and have a career path.
"At Flagstaff, we don't have people with disabilities, we have employees and we have staff who support our employees to do things they thought were not possible.
"We want our employees to have more than work, we want them to have a career.
"Sometimes this takes tough love because we also performance manage our employees to build their work ethic to better prepare them for a career in an unsupported environment," Mr Rogers said.
"Our employees love coming to work and are better prepared for work outside of Flagstaff."
Mr Rogers said Flagstaff was now offering school-based traineeships.
Flagstaff was unique in that it operated commercially a variety of businesses such as recycling, frozen meals, printing and mailing, commercial laundry, coffee roasting and now a canteen cafe.
That meant it was able to offer employees a chance to find the career that best fitted their skills.
The award was presented at the National Disability Services Employment Forum hosted by the Commonwealth Department of Social Services.